News

Palo Alto Unified continues to serve free breakfast and lunch for all students

Families in need don't need to request for student meals, but district encourages them to apply for other benefits

Lunches prepared to pass out to students at Gunn High School on March 16, 2020, when the Palo Alto Unified started offering free meals for all students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

The Palo Alto Unified School District will continue to offer free breakfast and lunch for all students for the 2021-22 academic year as part of its participation in the national School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the national programs offered free and reduced-priced meals for eligible students based on household size and family income. Depending on those two variables, students could receive breakfast and lunch for free or for 30 and 40 cents, respectively.

But in March 2020, the programs shifted to offer free meals for all students regardless of eligibility, according to Theresa Poon, the district's student nutrition clerk.

The programs apply to all campuses. Students will be able to receive breakfast and lunch for free, though not all district schools offer breakfast.

Families will not have to apply this year for their children to receive the free meals, but Poon recommended families who usually qualify for the programs to still submit an application. Their eligibility opens them up to other benefits offered outside of the school district such as discounts on home utilities, summer camps, free books, waived athletic fees and more.

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Juniors who have to take an Advanced Placement test can have their testing fees waived as well, she added.

Poon said the district is in the process of sending notices out to parents, encouraging them to apply if they done so in previous years.

Applications can be submitted to the district office at 25 Churchill Ave. Families can also submit one online at lunchapp.com, though applications haven't opened up yet for the upcoming school year.

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Palo Alto Unified continues to serve free breakfast and lunch for all students

Families in need don't need to request for student meals, but district encourages them to apply for other benefits

by Lloyd Lee / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 30, 2021, 9:10 am

The Palo Alto Unified School District will continue to offer free breakfast and lunch for all students for the 2021-22 academic year as part of its participation in the national School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the national programs offered free and reduced-priced meals for eligible students based on household size and family income. Depending on those two variables, students could receive breakfast and lunch for free or for 30 and 40 cents, respectively.

But in March 2020, the programs shifted to offer free meals for all students regardless of eligibility, according to Theresa Poon, the district's student nutrition clerk.

The programs apply to all campuses. Students will be able to receive breakfast and lunch for free, though not all district schools offer breakfast.

Families will not have to apply this year for their children to receive the free meals, but Poon recommended families who usually qualify for the programs to still submit an application. Their eligibility opens them up to other benefits offered outside of the school district such as discounts on home utilities, summer camps, free books, waived athletic fees and more.

Juniors who have to take an Advanced Placement test can have their testing fees waived as well, she added.

Poon said the district is in the process of sending notices out to parents, encouraging them to apply if they done so in previous years.

Applications can be submitted to the district office at 25 Churchill Ave. Families can also submit one online at lunchapp.com, though applications haven't opened up yet for the upcoming school year.

Comments

Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2021 at 11:56 am
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 30, 2021 at 11:56 am

It is wonderful that PAUSD is providing healthy meals to children in need. Well done!

However, I can't help but notice that's a lot of plastic in that photo. Can the food service please switch to paper bags and waxed paper or provide families with reusable lunch boxes that can be filled with less plastic? Plastic waste is a serious problem in our oceans, and it is entering our food streams. Let's make this good deed better by making sure that we leave our children a healthy planet that will sustain them their whole lives.

Thank you for taking good care of our community's children and their future.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Jul 1, 2021 at 9:09 am
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Jul 1, 2021 at 9:09 am

Taking care of children in need is heartwarming. Plastic is the obvious choice. If they switch to paper then the tree huggers will complain. Reusable lunch boxes doesn't make any sense during a pandemic. Perhaps it's time to relax and let others do what they do without your interference because it doesn't fit your political agenda. It really is that simple.


Ben Stallworth
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Jul 1, 2021 at 9:29 am
Ben Stallworth, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 1, 2021 at 9:29 am

Another option would be the use of sectioned metal plate/trays like we had in the service along with metal spoons and forks.

All washable and re-usable with no adverse impact on the environment.


The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 2, 2021 at 1:18 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 2, 2021 at 1:18 pm

No need to “scold” the user “CYO.” CYO is absolutely correct about cutting down the amount of plastic being used. That was a great suggestion. Although it may not be feasible to do so right now during the pandemic, reusable options should be looked at once things get back to normal if the standard is serving everything in plastic. This isn’t just “fear mongering”, here are some shocking facts about plastic:

Web Link

[Portion removed.]

As for the meals, I think this is great. I am happy the kids get fed. Incredible deal for the parents. Schools provide not one, but two(!) free or reduced priced meals and basically sort of free child care for the day with the property tax money(we all have to pay taxes anyway). Paying for actual day care is super expensive. The schools take care of the children Monday through Friday for about 8 hours a day and feed them. What a deal! Thank you to all of those making these meals possible for our children.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Jul 2, 2021 at 6:38 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Jul 2, 2021 at 6:38 pm
Benito Munoz
Registered user
another community
on Jul 2, 2021 at 8:00 pm
Benito Munoz, another community
Registered user
on Jul 2, 2021 at 8:00 pm

In the real world, feeding hungry children would take precedence over bio-degradable utensils and plates.


eileen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 2, 2021 at 10:29 pm
eileen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 2, 2021 at 10:29 pm

Wow, providing two meals for the children is fantastic. It will make life easier
for the parents too!


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